Episode 1. Eat Healthy, Be Healthy
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You know what they say – you are what you eat. When I wound the clock back about 150 years on my diet, what happened was that I lost 25 kgs without really trying all too hard. When people hear what …
You know what they say – you are what you eat. When I wound the clock back about 150 years on my diet, what happened was that I lost over 25 kgs (that’s 55 lbs) without really having to try all that hard. When people hear what I eat, they’re shocked. But actually, all I’m eating is what people ate back when heart disease was a rarity.
Wow we’ve had so much feedback from last week’s programs where I talked about living a healthy life to a ripe old age. The phone has literally been ringing off the hook and the emails have been flooding in. It seems that what we’ve been talking about has really struck a chord for many people and why wouldn’t it.
You and I have such amazing bodies, a body so complex and intricate, so strong and durable yet so incredibly fragile. A body that produces digestive juices strong enough to dissolve zinc; a body with lungs whose surface area would cover a tennis court; a body with a heart that will beat one hundred thousand times every day for the term of your natural life; a body with bone as strong as granite.
Did you know a piece of human bone the size of a matchbox can support a weight of nine tonnes? A body with a brain that simply cannot be matched by any computer that man can build, and it’s the only body that you and I will ever be given. It’s been wonderfully, exquisitely, uniquely handcrafted with chemical balancing and feedback mechanisms so complex that medical science is only beginning to understand some of them.
We have no idea how or where we store the billions of pieces of information that we can recall in an instant. We simply marvel at all the complex bodily functions that are controlled by our brains without you or me ever having to think about them; in fact we’re not even aware of them.
You have an amazing body and yet so many of us are abusing it into an early grave all because of what we’re putting down our mouths. You are what you eat, quite literally and in just one hundred years, whilst medical science has dispatched a bunch of diseases like typhoid and small pox and tuberculosis and polio and a bunch of others largely to the scrap heap, there’s a bunch of new diseases that have come along to rob people of a healthy life and a long life.
You see it’s not just about adding the years to your life, it’s about adding life to your years. Way too many people are contracting diseases that, just a century ago, were as rare as hens teeth. As we saw last week on the program cardio vascular disease was almost unknown at the beginning of the 20th century. Today the World Health Organisation estimates that through heart attack and stroke cardio vascular disease kills 16.7 million people every year, that’s one third of all deaths worldwide.
And please don’t think that this is all coming from the wealthy developed countries, two thirds of those deaths are now coming from low and middle-income nations. There’s probably not a one of us who doesn’t know someone who’s had a heart attack or stroke. Well if we’d been having this discussion back in 1901 almost none of us would have known anyone who had a heart attack or stroke.
And yet by 2020 the World Health Organisation estimates that there will be around twenty-five-million cardio vascular disease deaths worldwide. It’s on the increase people; same with cancer, same with diabetes, same with obesity. People we are eating ourselves into an early grave and the more the research comes out the more it all points to the so-called western diet.
I believe, in fact, no I know that God gave you and me the most amazing bodies, and the reason we’re dedicating a few weeks to talking about this stuff on the program is because I want to help you to avoid becoming a victim of your own western diet. The thing that sets the western diet apart, as we’ve seen if you’ve been able to join me in the last few days, is not so much it’s fat content because there are plenty of instances of traditional diets with high animal fat contents where the people who eat them had a zero, zero rate of cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
The thing that sets the western diet apart is its high content of processed and refined carbohydrates – sugar! There’s sugar in just about every processed food you buy in the supermarket, white flour, white rice, sweet drinks, sweet sauces, sweet cereals, sweet just about everything. Last week I shared with you that my top secret for losing 25 kilograms, that’s 55 pounds, that’s a lot of weight, was simply removing the refined carbohydrates from my diet, nothing else, no starving myself, nothing.
I just want to talk about that a bit more today because people are shocked when I say that. They think I’m crazy, others think I’m an extremist, others still put it down to another fad diet thing. I told someone about it recently and they said, “But Berni aren’t you hungry all the time?”
We are so conditioned to believing that a diet high in refined carbohydrates is normal and yet if you turn the clock back just a century, back to the days when cardio vascular disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and a string of other diseases (which today are becoming pandemics and increasing) were almost completely unknown, the one thing that stands out like a sore thumb is that refined carbohydrates were a complete rarity in peoples diets.
People want to know, ‘Well Berni if you don’t eat bread and cereal and tomato sauce and cakes and biscuits and chips and all that stuff, what in goodness name do you eat?’ That’s the question I’d like to answer for you today as I sit here with my blood pressure normal, my blood sugar normal, my triglycerides and bad cholesterol very low and my good cholesterol high.
I wish I could have invited you to dinner last night; it was awesome. My wife Jacqui cooked a roast vegetable salad while I grilled some tandoori chicken on the barbeque. The salad was stunning, she cut up zucchini’s and peppers or capsicums, mushrooms, baby tomatoes, onions, beans, I actually can’t remember all the vegetables that were in there, drizzled them with a little olive oil and roasted them for half an hour in the oven.
Preparation time was about ten minutes, then she tossed the roast veggie salad in some vinegar added a little salt and pepper and served them up warm with the tandoori chicken that I’d just cooked. What was missing was any sauce with sugar in it, what was missing was roast potatoes or white rice or white pasta that would have spiked your blood sugar level and produced nasty triglycerides in your blood.
But you know those veggies contained all the carbohydrates that my body needs, I had a stack of them too, they tasted exquisite. The meal contained mostly carbohydrates, some protein, some fat the way a meal is meant to only the carbohydrates were tucked away inside a whole bunch of natural fibre which makes them slower to digest meaning I wouldn’t get hungry for a long time and my blood sugar wouldn’t spike.
That’s how people ate back at the beginning of the 20th century, in fact that’s how they’ve been eating for millennia. Plenty of unrefined carbohydrates, unrefined grains that are slow to digest, with plenty of fat, animal fat including plenty of protein. If we had the courage to turn back the clock a hundred and fifty years on our diet to a time when metabolic syndrome, that’s what all this obesity, diabetes and cardio-vascular disease is called, what we doubtless discover is that many of the diseases that are products of the 20th and 21st centuries would go away.
The exciting thing is that the food’s fantastic. My biggest insight – vegetables rock! Animal fat, rather than increasing my cholesterol levels, actually keeps your blood sugar under control, keeps your appetite under control and doesn’t make you fat. The research is done, it’s in and I’m walking proof.
Professor Robert Lustig of the University of California San Francisco is a paediatric endocrinologist specialising in childhood obesity. He makes this point about sugar and carbohydrate content in fruit and vegetables. He said:
God packaged the poison (that’s the sugar) inside the antidote (that’s the fibre). It doesn’t hurt you when its unrefined but the process of refining, squeezing the sugar out of the cane, taking the wheat out of it’s fibrous husk, squeezing the juice out of the fruit removes the fibre and leaves you with the poison, the refined carbohydrates.
That’s what is killing us. There is so much fantastic natural food out there and if we are prepared to go for it we would discover a whole new level of health.